CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif. (KGET) — For Charles Pettus, the biological father of the missing boys, it’s been a year of pain and desolation, but also hope that he will be reunited with his sons.
Pettus, 33, is left with only one memory of his sons from that chilly December.
“The day that they put the report on the news that they went missing someone told me to look on Facebook,” Pettus said. “I don’t have social media, so I was looking through families’ phones and I didn’t even know that they sent them out with other people.”
Headline after headline, Pettus was left in disbelief, shocked by descriptions of how the adopted parents had left his boys unattended. He couldn’t understand how something so terrible happened after the county had removed the boys, taken them from him, supposedly for safe keeping.
“It’s real obvious that ya’ll already knew that these kids were outside unattended, then you go inside and then you come back outside, and these kids were missing,” Pettus said. “Ya’ll know what happened. Ya’ll know what was going on,. Everything is janky. There is nothing right.”
From that day forward, a part of Pettus has been missing.
“They took my family; they took my life from me. My kids are my life, that’s my family,” Pettus said.
Amid confusion, Pettus clung to hope his children would return.
“It’s not making sense; I’m just waiting for it to all come together and for my kids to come home that’s about it,” Pettus said. “Don’t nobody know what’s going on to them, anything could be happening to them, they can be perfectly fine too but it’s not right.”
Pettus lost a child in an out-of-state car accident a decade ago while the child was under the care of Pettus’ partner at the time. He is dealing with emotions that he never wanted to relive again, especially if the case ends in the worst way possible.
“I would never put a doubt that my kids are dead,” Pettus said. “I wouldn’t want to go through that pain again. It’s hard to close that hole once it’s open.”
Watch the full interview with Charles Pettus, Orrin and Orson West’s biological father.
Pettus is now a full-time parent caring for his two remaining children while about to undertake a legal battle against the county.
“I don’t want my kids to be deceased; I want them to come back,. My kids is all I got. After my parents pass it’s just me and my kids,” Pettus said.
Silence from the adoptive parents adds salt to Pettus’ wound.
“They have no words, so I have no words either,” Pettus said. “Don’t try to hide it. That means whatever you do in the dark, it’ll come to light. If they did something, justice will be served one way or another.”
One year later, searches continue, and a father continues his crying plea.
“Somebody knows what’s going on. If you did something, let people know because you’re hurting people’s kids; you’re taking family away from family. These were babies,” Pettus said.